Employer OSHA Liabilities for Remote Employees
The COVID-19 pandemic caused many workplaces to have their employees work remotely. Although having remote employees helps keep workers safe, many employers are unaware of OSHA’s regulations. Below is a summary of OSHA’s guidance on dealing with remote worker injuries, inspections, and ways to control your risks.
Home Offices vs. Home-Based Workplaces
The difference between a home office and a home-based workplace determines whether OSHA will conduct an inspection.
Home-Based Worksite: The areas of an employee’s home where the employee performs work of the employer.
Home Office: Office work activities in a home-based worksite (i.e., filing, typing, research, reading, writing).
OSHA Inspection Guidance
OSHA will only conduct inspections of home-based worksites if it receives a complaint that indicates:
- There is a violation of a safety or health standard that threatens physical harm or
- Imminent danger exists
The OSHA inspection is limited to the employee’s work activities. Employers are responsible for any hazards caused by materials, equipment, or work processes provided or required to be used in the employee’s home.
Injury and Illness Tracking
Employers need to keep records of home office injuries or illnesses that are considered recordable by OSHA. According to OSHA’s requirements, an injury or illness that occurs while the employee is working from home is work-related if it directly relates to the job’s activities rather than the home environment’s activities. Employers must record home work-related injuries on the OSHA 300 logs like they would if employees were on-site and injured.
Employers can decrease the risk of recordable OSHA injuries by implementing remote worker policies that outline expectations and defines job tasks. Additionally, assisting employees with their home office setup to prevent any ergonomic issues can help reduce injury risk. Sample information can include:
- Workstation setup
- Proper posture
- How often to take breaks
- Exercise to help prevent injuries
RBN Can Help
For more risk management guidance, contact RBN Insurance today. RBN can assist with OSHA compliance, provide sample policies, and review insurance policies for gaps in coverage.